Policy

Bumble isn’t just about swiping right…

This week, a bill will become law in Texas criminalizing the sending of unsolicited sexual photos.

While most states have laws that explicitly criminalize the act of exposing one’s genitals in public, few incorporate language that extends criminalization to “unsolicited sexual photos.” Today’s technology, such as text messages, direct messages, AirDrop, email, social media, and dating apps can all be easily used to send unwanted sexual images — with little recourse.

How serious a problem is it? A 2017 YouGov survey found roughly 3 in 4 millennial women have received a message with an uninvited graphic image, or a “dick pic.”  In other words, many individuals are actively choosing to use technology to commit acts of indecent exposure.  

Spearheading the issue is Whitney Wolfe Herd, CEO of popular dating app Bumble who wants to build a workplace where women can thrive. Herd has already taken action to address this issue – sending unsolicited lewd photos on Bumble gets you immediately banned from the app. This move was part of increased safety measures adopted by the app this past April, and we hope Herd’s leadership on this issue influences others to do the same.

At RALIANCE, we’re excited by this work. To end sexual violence in one generation, leaders in tech and commerce must use their influence and reach to establish safe environments and stronger communities. We’re poised to help.

How the hotel industry can help end sexual violence and human trafficking

The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AHLA) employs 8 million workers in the U.S. lodging industry and has chosen to use the attention they command to begin a conversation about combating human trafficking. On July 30, AHLA announced their No Room for Trafficking Campaign through a public service announcement. No Room for Trafficking displays the hotel industry’s comprehensive approach to fighting human trafficking. This is a wonderful example of an industry using their power and leverage to enact positive change and create safer, more equitable workplaces where violence is not tolerated, AHLA provides an empowering example for other industries, demonstrating that focusing on prevention before harm occurs is being part of the solution to ending sexual violence in one generation.

“In the fight against human trafficking, the hotel industry is united in our commitment to being part of the solution,” said Chip Rogers, AHLA President & CEO. “By taking action to provide human trafficking awareness training for our employees and the sharing of hotel industry best practices, we hope to serve as an example for other industries, while finding new opportunities to partner across the tourism sector and those joining us in this important fight.” Read the full AHLA Press Release.

AHLA has formed partnerships with a wide range of national organizations, all dedicated to promoting workplace safety and preventing sexual violence. This list includes: ECPAT-USAPolarisBESTNational Sexual Violence Resource CenterNational Alliance to End Sexual ViolenceDC Rape Crisis CenterNational Domestic Violence HotlinePeace Over ViolenceRALIANCERAINNSafe House Project, and National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

No Room For Trafficking begins with public awareness, but it also includes intensive training for industry staff on how to identify and respond effectively to situations. Additionally, it establishes a companywide policy and promotes sharing success stories and best practices.

We commend AHLA for using their position in the public eye to promote a conversation about stopping sexual violence, and we encourage other organizations and industries to join RALIANCE and partners such as AHLA in the fight to stamp out sexual harassment, misconduct, and abuse once and for all.

Trend Alert: NWLC finds more states are strengthening workplace reforms

A year after #MeToo went viral, state-level legislation strengthening workplace harassment laws have become a growing trend. So far, 15 states have enacted workplace policy reforms, all documented in a new report from the National Women’s Law Center (NWLC): Progress in Advancing Me Too Workplace Reforms in #20Statesby2020.  

States are recognizing that employers should:

Require preventative anti-harassment training.

Prohibit nondisclosure agreements as a condition of employment or as part of a settlement agreement.

Expand protections to include independent contractors, interns, or graduate students.

Extend the statute of limitations for filing a harassment claim.

Over 300 state legislators from 40 states and Washington DC have signed the #20Statesby2020 pledge, promising to work with survivors and afflicted communities to build robust policy solutions. Preventative policies are essential to reducing harm in workplaces, schools, and assisted care facilities.

“To prevent sexual harassment at work, we must start by addressing it in schools since the treatment and behavior students experience from their peers, teachers, and administrators ultimately shapes workplace norms around gender, race, respect, and accountability.”

(NWLC, Page 4)

Sexual violence isn’t a bipartisan issue. It’s important that all state governments take an interest in the safety of their constituents at work and at school. Read the NWLC report to investigate the movement in your state. Additionally, a helpful resource is the Workplaces Respond to Domestic & Sexual Violence National Resource Center by Futures Without Violence, which supports survivors, employers, co-workers, and advocates.

At RALIANCE, we believe companies have a responsibility to promote a safe work environment that is committed to the well-being of all employees. We also help companies enact systemic cultural change which prevents sexual harassment, misconduct, and abuse. Learn more online.

Condemning Violence and Sexual Abuse at the Border

Last week, the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault, the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, and the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape joined dozens of anti-sexual violence organizations to speak out against the mistreatment of refugees and immigrants held in detention at the U.S. southern border. Around this time last year, RALIANCE also called for an end to the Trump administration’s policy of separating children from their parents at the border and we join our colleagues in opposing this destructive immigration policy.

ANTI-SEXUAL VIOLENCE COALITIONS NATIONWIDE CONDEMN THE MISTREATMENT OF REFUGEES AND IMMIGRANTS HELD IN DETENTION. Demand end to ICE raids and POC community monitoring

The text of the full statement is below and the can also be found here.

State and national sexual assault coalitions across the country are united in condemning the separation of children from family members as well as the violence and dehumanizing conditions faced by people being held in detention. The treatment of adults and children while detained in U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) migrant detention centers under the jurisdiction of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is dehumanizing and therefore unacceptable. It must come to an immediate end.

We represent survivors of and advocates against sexual harassment, abuse and assault throughout the country. Many people coming to the U.S. are fleeing from sexual violence in their countries of origin. As advocates, it is incumbent upon us to bear witness and take action against cruelty.

Whereas there are no less than two immigrant detention centers per state, including Puerto Rico, and 184 centers in the state of Texas, we demand accountability from all officials and legislators for the atrocities that continue within these tax-payer funded detention facilities and camps.

Recorded reports of abuse include the following:

  • Overcrowding
  • Lack of access to clean water and food
  • Physical abuse
  • Sexual assault
  • Unsanitary living conditions
  • Medical neglect
  • Verbal/psychological abuse
  • LGBTQ+ discriminatory behavior

_

There have also been reports of systemic and widespread sexual harassment, abuse, and assault occurring in ICE detention facilities across the nation and only 2 percent of complaints having been investigated, in clear violation of the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) standards. According to Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) documents, thousands of migrant children have experienced sexual abuse while in U.S. government custody under the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) since 2015.

Reporters have not been allowed to speak with detainees or to record the conditions inside the facilities. Doctors are not able to access important medical records of refugees due to the lack of transparency from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection. These agencies’ policies are unacceptable and undermine advocates working to end and prevent violence, who understand that a culture of silence creates a dangerous environment for violence to run rampant and unchecked.

It is imperative that all legislators, local and national, address the humanitarian crisis at our southern border immediately. We demand the current administration completely end the practice of separating children from their parents and minimize the placement of children and families in detention settings that expose them to further traumatization and dangerous living conditions. Additionally, legislators must work together to support policies that reduce obstacles to good-faith asylum claims, and avoid creating new ones.

We ask our supporters to contact their legislators regarding this statement and mention the concerns we have listed. We demand an end to secrecy by all immigration agencies and an end to the inhumane conditions that refugees are forced to endure inside detention centers and camps. We want an end to U.S. Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) raids that unfairly target communities of color and funnel more people into the inhumane conditions within DHS detention facilities. We urge all legislators to take a bipartisan, humanitarian position by acting to protect immigrants and refugees within our borders. Human rights, and the dignity of every person, are not partisan issues.

Other actions include supporting and reaching out to the sponsors of crucial legislation such as:

  • The Northern Triangle and Border Stabilization Act of 2019 (H.R. 3524), which requires better treatment of detained children at the border, including by setting standards for CBP facilities and directing the hiring of child welfare professionals.
  • The Child Trafficking Victims Protection and Welfare Act (S. 661), which provides for the safe and appropriate treatment of children in CBP custody by requiring at least one licensed child welfare professional at ports of entry and Border Patrol stations that regularly hold a large number of children. The bill also provides minimum standards of care for children in CBP custody.

_

Together, we can prevent the continued sexual harassment, abuse, and assault of all persons regardless of race, gender, ethnicity, or documentation status.

SIGNED: 

ALAS: ALIANZA LATINA EN CONTRA LA AGRESIÓN SEXUAL

AMERICAN SAMOA ALLIANCE AGAINST DOMESTIC AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE

ARTE SANA

ARIZONA COALITION TO END SEXUAL & DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

ARKANSAS COALITION AGAINST SEXUAL ASSAULT

CALIFORNIA COALITION AGAINST SEXUAL ASSAULT

CONNECTICUT ALLIANCE TO END SEXUAL VIOLENCE

COLORADO COALITION AGAINST SEXUAL ASSAULT

FLORIDA COUNCIL AGAINST SEXUAL VIOLENCE

IDAHO COALITION AGAINST SEXUAL & DOMESTIC VIOLENCE 

IOWA COALITION AGAINST SEXUAL ASSAULT

JANE DOE INC. (Massachusetts) 

MAINE COALITION AGAINST SEXUAL ASSAULT

MARYLAND COALITION AGAINST SEXUAL ASSAULT

MINNESOTA COALITION AGAINST SEXUAL ASSAULT

MONTANA COALITION AGAINST DOMESTIC AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE

NATIONAL ALLIANCE TO END SEXUAL VIOLENCE

NEW HAMPSHIRE COALITION AGAINST DOMESTIC AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE 

NEW JERSEY COALITION AGAINST SEXUAL ASSAULT

NEW MEXICO COALITION OF SEXUAL ASSAULT PROGRAMS, INC.

NEW YORK STATE COALITION AGAINST SEXUAL ASSAULT

NEVADA COALITION TO END DOMESTIC AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE

OHIO ALLIANCE TO END SEXUAL VIOLENCE

OREGON COALITION AGAINST DOMESTIC AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE

PENNSYLVANIA COALITION AGAINST RAPE

TEXAS ASSOCIATION AGAINST SEXUAL ASSAULT

VERMONT NETWORK AGAINST DOMESTIC AND SEXUAL VIOLENCE

VIRGINIA SEXUAL AND DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ACTION ALLIANCE

WASHINGTON COALITION OF SEXUAL ASSAULT PROGRAMS

WEST VIRGINIA FOUNDATION FOR RAPE INFORMATION AND SERVICES 

WISCONSIN COALITION AGAINST SEXUAL ASSAULT

###

Why it’s Important the 2020 Democratic Presidential Debates Talk About #MeToo

The legacy of #MeToo means candidates must address sexual harassment, misconduct, and abuse as part of their platforms – and, importantly, how these topics will be prevented and addressed within their own campaigns. This week’s first Democratic presidential debate is an opportunity to that.

Time’s Up representatives Eva Longoria, Ana Navarro, and Hilary Rosen recently penned an important op ed noting the significant role of the moderators in these debates to shape the questions posed to the candidates. They wrote, “It’s true that women and people of color share plenty of concerns with white men. But asking those general questions isn’t enough: We need to know how the candidates would approach issues that are of special concern to female voters.”

As the presidential debates kick off, we thought we’d share some best practices for how political candidates can talk about sexual violence prevention and champion safe, healthy and harassment-free workplaces and environments while on the campaign trail:   

Be proactive. Promote a culture of respect and inclusion. In many ways, how campaigns structure and treat their staff sends a message about the political candidate’s broader values and priorities. As the leaders of their campaigns, political candidates and their senior staff are responsible for modeling good behavior and setting norms and standards for a work environment that promotes the safety and well-being of all employees.

Maintain a clear and comprehensive anti-harassment policy. Candidates should put into place transparent policies, procedures, and reporting mechanisms that include training and awareness – not just for how victims may report but on addressing the inappropriate behaviors that enabled this to happen in the first place.

Talk about how all of us can do better to help end sexual violence in one generation. Here’s an example of what a candidate could say: “Sexual harassment, misconduct, and abuse have no place in our workplaces, and it’s on all of us to look out for each other. That starts with training and awareness, but it doesn’t stop there. To end sexual violence, we all must work to build a culture based on mutual respect, safety and equality.”

Pledge to put more funding and resources to support survivors and expand access to prevention education. Addressing the serious gaps in such issues as reducing the rape kit backlog, addressing sexual assault on campuses as well as in our military requires a significant economic investment.

For more tips, check out these RALIANCE resources: What Bernie should have said about allegations of sexual harassment on his campaign and Advice to 2020 Political Candidates and Campaigns.

Statement on Roy Moore’s announcement to run for the US Senate in 2020

“Roy Moore’s announcement is a direct affront to survivors of sexual violence and the people of Alabama. His attempt to re-enter public life without taking ownership of the irreparable harm he has done should be a reminder that, now more than ever, we need to hold accountable those who use their positions of power to exploit and abuse the most vulnerable in our society.

“Not too long ago, a critical mass of voters in Alabama made a powerful statement: sexual violence and abuse won’t be tolerated from public officials. We are in a watershed moment for sexual violence prevention and survivors and women across the country will be counting on the voters of Alabama to make sure we don’t go back.”.

Read the statement.

RALIANCE supports women’s right to control their bodies, condemns Alabama abortion ban

Earlier this week, Alabama Governor Kay Ivey signed into law the Alabama Human Life Protection Act, which would essentially ban all abortions – including for victims of sexual assault and incest – and punish doctors who perform abortions with life in prison. 

This law not only attacks women’s fundamental rights, but it also does nothing to ensure the health and safety of victims of sexual violence. Instead of protecting and supporting victims of sexual assault and incest, it turns its back on them. 

RALIANCE joins women and survivors across the country in speaking out against this attack on women and reasserting their legal rights to access reproductive health options without fear of punishment or retaliation. 

While Alabama is the first to outright ban abortion, we can’t forget that Missouri, Ohio, Georgia and a growing number of other states are also introducing and/or passing laws that further restrict women’s access to legal and safe reproductive care.   

Ebony Tucker, advocacy director at RALIANCE and the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence, reflected on how misogyny is at the core of this dangerous trend in a joint op-ed for Refinery29 last month with Shaina Goodman, director of policy for reproductive health and rights at the National Partnership for Women & Families. 

Tucker and Goodman said, “Deciding whether and when to have a child and whether or when to consent to sexual activity are both fundamentally about asserting autonomy over our own bodies. And both restrictions on abortion and the dismissal of sexual assault are about people in power — predominantly men — trying to strip away our dignity and roll back our march toward equality.”

It’s time to come together to speak out against the harmful laws that reinforce abortion restrictions and the pervasive culture that disregards women’s right to control their own bodies. Together we can end sexual violence in one generation. 

RALIANCE Sexual Assault Awareness Month Briefing

This week RALIANCE held a briefing at the Senate Russell Office Building in Washington, DC to discuss the work of local sexual violence organizations.

Across the country, 1500 local agencies provide the frontline response to the widespread and devastating problem of sexual assault in our communities. From survivor support to prevention with youth to systems advocacy, these programs are providing the leadership we need to address and end sexual violence.

Watch the briefing as leaders of state programs discuss their essential work as well as policy solutions.

Watch here >>>

Join Us for a Briefing on the Work Of Rape Crisis Centers

Across the country, 1500 local agencies provide the frontline response to the widespread and devastating problem of sexual assault in our communities. From survivor support to prevention with youth to systems advocacy, these programs are providing the leadership we need to address and end sexual violence. Join us to discuss their essential work as well as policy solutions on Wednesday, April 3, 2019 from 2-3pmET on Capitol Hill in 385 Senate Russell Office Building

Moderator Monika Johnson Hostler, NCCASA Executive Director, RALIANCE Managing Partner, and NAESV President will facilitate a panel including: Indira Henard, Executive Director of the D.C. Rape Crisis Center Washington D.C.; Julie Donelon, President & CEO of MOCSA in Kansas City, MO; Johna Sullivan, Executive Director Crisis Intervention & Advocacy Center in Adel, IA; and Barbara Kappos, Executive Director of the East Los Angeles Women’s Center in Los Angeles, CA.

For more information, contact Terri Poore at [email protected]   

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Subscribe